Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What are the warning signs of giant cell arteritis?"
I am a 29 year old man and would like to know what else to look out for. Right now I've a fever and headaches and am on my way to the doc.
First of all, you should know that giant cell arteritis (GCA, or temporal arteritis) is a diagnosis that occurs almost exclusively in patients over the age of 50 years; it would be very very unusual for a 29 year old man to be diagnosed with GCA. GCA can present with a variety of symptoms that may include fatigue, new-onset headache, fevers, joint stiffness like that seen in Polymyalgia Rheumatica, jaw pain (i.e. claudication), visual changes/loss, and decreased pulsation / increased tenderness of the temporal artery. Clinical symptoms are combined with inflammatory markers in the blood to help suggest the diagnosis; the ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) is the marker most often used, and is usually significant elevated. If you are experiencing a fever and headache, it is advisable that you seek care of your physician. He/she should be able to figure out the cause of your symptoms based on your history and physical exam. If you have been around other sick people and are also experiencing any muscle aches or pains, sore throat or cough, you are probably experiencing a viral illness which should resolve in a few days.